Focus on the Resolutions That Excite You Most

In this time of resolution and planning for the future, it’s so easy to get swamped by the many things you want to accomplish. It’s really easy to set a lot of goals for yourself, but it’s much harder to set manageable expectations and the right kind of strategy for how to accomplish them.

The first step is to develop a sense of what goals you feel you and your business are legitimately capable of accomplishing and more importantly, the goals you really are interested in pursuing in the long term.

There are two reasons why most people don’t end up accomplishing the goals they put forward at the start of the year. First, they take too many and second, they don’t take goals that “energize” them, as Elizabeth Grace Saunders of HBR puts it. It’s so difficult to build consistency at the things you just don’t care about, so why bother? It’s not worth all that energy if you don’t think you can stay committed in the long term.

When deciding on resolutions that matter most to you, a good way to start is by creating a hierarchy of interest. Think about all those resolutions that you are emphasizing at the start of the year. Discard the ones that feel like “musts” and “shoulds” in favor of those that feel like “wants.”

The best thing to do is to get narrow here. You don’t just want to engage with your goals on a superficial level. You need to really invest yourself if you want to get anywhere with them, and the best way to do that is to focus on a small few that you know you can spend most of your time on.

When you’re creating your hierarchy, just focus on simple questions like “is this something I know I want to keep working at week in and week out?” You don’t really have to go any further than marking a yes or no to questions like that then rating your level of interest on a High, Medium, and Low scale. It can actually be counter-productive to get more granular than that, and it isn’t really worth your time.

The quickest way to turn your business resolutions into unproductive chores is making tiny, incremental progress goals that you have to check into day to day. For many people, this seems to be the best way to make sure they keep up with their resolutions, but it can actually destroy engagement and consistency more than it helps.

When you feel like your resolutions are your boss, when you feel like they are something you have to do and not something you want to do then you’re just not going to be as devoted. There are surely things out there that you just want to get better at, but are also just really fun for you.

May it be honing your talent at visual design or reading the best articles of the day to improve your own writing, there’s so much you can do for your professional development that’s also really exciting day in and day out. Whatever it is, don’t think of it in terms of incremental chunks of progress. Think in terms of long term growth and where you want to be at the end of the year as opposed to the start.

The impulse, at least for someone like me, is to take on too many things because you just so happen to be energized by a bunch of different opportunities. In that situation when you really struggle to focus in on what matters most, just pick two or three from the list and emphasize them for this year.

The hope is there will be many years to work on many things. You don’t have to tackle it all in this one.

It’s up to you to decide what are the most energizing skills that you want to hone, and what changes you want to enact in your own life and in your business. So long as you focus and don’t overwhelm yourself, you can set a path now to progress more than you ever thought possible throughout the year.

— ZK

Ed Lynes13p5Comment